With near-record high temperatures and a cloudless sky, yesterday was a parasol day. I collapsed it down to tiny umbrella size and shape before I got a seat on the number 6 train uptown. There’s a general impression about New Yorkers never talking to one another; it’s not true. We enjoy the illusion of private space, but chatting with strangers isn’t uncommon.
The woman sitting next to me said, “Boy you’re a pessimist with an umbrella on a day like today.”
“It’s a parasol. A friend got for me in Hong Kong.”
“Does it really work?”
“Oh, I get my small circle of personal shade as walk.”
“Have you ever heard of the Explorers Club?” she asked.
I nodded. Of course I’d heard of it, but only in the context of movies about adventurers and exotic travel.
“Did you know that they have lectures that are open to the public?”
She went on to tell me all about the monthly lecture series. It sounded great.
“It’s only $20 and there’s wine and snacks, too.”
Even better — I can afford that.
Then she pointed to my bracelets. I bought myself two, colorful bangles made of recycled plastic at the Museum of African Art in Washington, DC. It was part of a program for women artisans and they were so cute and light that I couldn’t resist. She was wearing a lovely bracelet that she’d bought in a flea market in Nigeria and recognized mine as African in design. It was the combination of the parasol and the bracelets that led her to believe I was, if not a kindred spirit, at least a good companion for a subway ride.
So what does this have to do with MONSTERS? Everything. By the time I’d walked from the station at Lexington and 53rd to my appointment at Madison and 53rd, I’d already begun to plot the scenario.
Switch out my recycled plastic bangles for something more impressive — perhaps an amber cuff inherited from my great-grandmother — and change the well-known Explorers Club for The Adventurers Club (or the Vampire Hunters or the Monster Society) and I’ve got the opening scene of one solid Monster tale.
Monsters are everywhere.